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World Bank Group Takes Stock of Seven Years of Supporting Business in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone

World Bank Group Takes Stock of Seven Years of Supporting Business in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone

Freetown, Sierra Leone, March 29, 2011 – The Investment Climate team of the World Bank Group and its donor partners today published a report detailing the results of a seven-year program to help Sierra Leone build a strong regulatory environment that is attracting investment, and spurring job creation and private sector growth in the country.

The Rebuilding Business and Investment in Post-Conflict Sierra Leone Report gives a comprehensive look at how the World Bank Group, with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and donors Ireland, the Netherlands, and Norway, helped Sierra Leone build the foundations of a strong private sector and begin recovering from a long civil war.

Through the Removing Administrative Barriers to Investment (RABI) Program, the World Bank Group and its partners helped Sierra Leone reduce business informality, streamline business taxes, promote dialogue between government and private companies, and attract increased investment, mostly in tourism and agribusiness.

David Carew, Sierra Leone’s former Minister of Trade and Industry, said, “We started the RABI Program because we all recognized that the private sector is the leader of growth. Thanks to the program, we have seen great progress in the ease of doing business in the country.”

Rachel Kyte, IFC Vice-President for Business Advisory Services, said, “The World Bank Group’s work in Sierra Leone over the past seven years demonstrates our commitment to helping post-conflict countries rebuild their economies and grow a dynamic private sector to increase stability and reduce poverty. The lessons we learned in such a challenging environment are helping us design support programs for other countries recovering from conflict in Africa and around the world.”

The World Bank Group’s advisory support helped Sierra Leone achieve the following developmental results:

  • A doubling of the number of business registered, both local and international (from 369 in 2004 to 861 in 2009)
  • A 40 percent increase in the number of taxpayers, from 4,650 in 2008 to 6,593 in early 2010
  • About $1 million in savings for the private sector, mostly from reduction or elimination of different fees
  • $12.5 million in new investments
  • 25,000 new jobs
  • Creation of the Sierra Leone Business Forum, which has supported changes to laws to help make it easier for businesses to register and pay taxes

The World Bank team also helped Sierra Leone develop a tourism strategy to capitalize on its natural beauty. Investments totaling $150 million are expected to be made in the country’s tourism sector and travel guide publisher Lonely Planet named Sierra Leone one of the top 10 places to visit in 2009.

About the World Bank Group

The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org, www.miga.org, and www.ifc.org.

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